Rorate Caeli

Fontgombault Sermon - Palm Sunday: "Obedience is at the core of the Incarnation and Passion"


Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, March 29, 2015)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

St. Paul asks the Philippians in the Epistle to have between them the same mind as Christ had. At the beginning of the Holy Week, the Church reminds us of this duty.

Christ has not thought that His Godhead was a hindrance that could prevent Him to be clothed with our human nature. Moreover, “He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:8)

Let us therefore enter the Incarnate Son’s mystery of humility and obedience. Let us follow Him in His Passion, not as faraway onlookers, but let us rather partake of the gift of His life. Let us mercifully continue this gift, which will end up with the glorification on the morning of Easter.

In this year of consecrated life, let us remember that obedience is at the core of the mystery of the Incarnation and Passion. Obedience must also be at the core of the life of each consecrated, inasmuch as he must bear witness to and prophesy Christ’s obedience before the world.

Christ’s human will abides not only by the limits of human nature, but also by the design of God. It is this design that we must make out so as to follow it and not take a wrong path. The Epistle to the Hebrews asserts:

And this will [of the Father] was for us to be sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ… (Hb 10:10; cf. Ps 39:7-9)

The will of God is the salvation of each man. To love as Christ, means to desire and promote the salvation of our neighbours, to orientate them towards a path of sanctification, sometimes at the expense of our own lives, often by renouncing ourselves.

If we want to follow Christ and enter the mystery of His Passion, each of us must answer a uestion. Are my actions consistent with the merciful design of God on each man, or are they uncaring of this design, or worse do they oppose it?

The answer is crucial; it will reveal whether our love for God is genuine or merely a pretence.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments… He that has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me. (Jn 14:15.21)

May Our Lady of the Stabat, the loving Mother of all men, teach us to remain at the foot of the Cross, especially on these days, and to imitate her Son Who gives His life out of love.